Easy ebook Formatting, A Tutorial For Resourceful Authors

picture for blog tuto

Hi lovelies,

I know many authors are curious about learning more things when it comes to publishing books. We also have a tight budget.

While I’m not cheap when it comes to editing, proofreading, promoting and so on, I find that I’m looking for more ways to cut the cost of publishing books. Formatting is where I decided to focus on. I convinced myself that while I’m not the brightest out there, I’m quite resourceful. 🙂

Let’s be honest, a good cover works wonder when it comes to attracting readers, that and a great blurb, but a wonky formatting will chase them away.

The fact is, a nice formatting, even simple (meaning without fancy chapter headers) won’t distract your readers from your words, your characters, your plot.

Then, why am I writing a tutorial to format your ebooks when there are great professionals out there?

Let me be clear. I don’t want you to stop hiring people to format your ebooks. They are professionals for a reason, and they do a fantastic job. I just want to give authors with a tight budget some breathing room to put the money used to format into promoting themselves. And if they’re like me and happen to love formatting, I’d be happy to be a part of that other aspect of the publishing adventure. 🙂

For a start, I will post a tutorial for an easy formatting job, meaning without fancy chapter headers. I will post another tutorial showing how to do it with fancy chapter headers next week. You’ll find that there isn’t much of a difference.

Are you ready?

What do you need?

  • Pages or OpenOffice or Word.
  • Fully edited book.
  • Jutoh.

What is Jutoh?

Jutoh is an excellent tool to format your ebooks.

Jutoh is a paid software to download on your computer, but it’s a cheap one. If you’re not sure about it, you can download a demo first.

The price for Jutoh (the basic package because you don’t need something more advanced) is $39.00 U.S. / £24.00 / €30.00 excl. VAT on this day. Once Jutoh bought, you will receive a personal activation key. From my experience, it took something like ten or fifteen minutes.

  • Note that this doesn’t format paperbacks. This is exclusively for ebooks.

Can I format without Jutoh?

The short answer is yes. You can format your ebook without Jutoh. I’ve done it once in the past. It took me a while to manage it and even then I wasn’t 100% satisfied. In my opinion, Jutoh makes it a smooth experience, and in turn, you don’t mind formatting anymore.

Where can I get Jutoh?

You’ll find everything you need HERE.

Let’s start this tutorial now. 😀


1. Open the file with your edited book.

This is an essential step so don’t overlook it if you don’t want to scratch your eyes out and scream murder later. Trust me on this.

Here are some screenshots from my laptop. I use Pages on my MacBook Pro, but the same goes for Word and Open Office. I’m sorry for the French, but I’m in France so…

2. Check that you’ve added a title page (the title of your novel and your author name), the copyright page and anything you’d like in your ebook before Chapter One or Prologue.

That goes for the Dedication too. I strongly advise you to write Dedication as a title. That’s for the Table of Contents (TOC) later on.

For article blog formatting .

3. Make sure that you’ve picked “Title” in the box for the title of your novel, Copyright, Dedication, Chapter One, Chapter Two and so on.

For blog tuto formatting

See the arrow? That’s what you need to do for every ‘title’ section. Don’t worry about the size of the font for now.

This can be annoying, but believe me, it prevents you from wasting time later on.

4. Check if the titles have an indentation.

For blog formatting article

“Retraits” is Indent or Indentation and “Premier” refers to the first line in your paragraph.

If you want “Chapter 1” centered, the indentation needs to be set on 0. You have to check all titles manually.

5. While you’re at it, put the indentation on 0 if you use *** in your chapters like this.

For blog article

Personally, I mostly use *** when I change character’s POV.

If you want that separation centered, you have to do just like with the titles. Make sure the indentation is on 0. It makes for a more aesthetic result in my opinion.

6. Make sure you use a “Page Break” after the title page, the copyright, the dedication, Chapter One, Chapter Two and so on.

For blog article on formatting.

I’ve highlighted the “Break Page” thingy so you can see it. Note that it’s used just after the last sentence of the chapter. It makes you jump to the next page and marks the end of your chapter.

7. You’re almost done prepping your file for Jutoh! Now, highlight your whole document and make sure you have one font and not multiple. Use New Times Roman, Helvetica or Georgia. They’re the most commonly used fonts, and they don’t mess with your formatting. You have to keep in mind that usually, e-readers can change the font and readers can decide on the size of the font.

That’s it! Your file is ready for Jutoh.

Tip: When you start working on a new story, set your document as you go so the prepping part goes smoothly and you don’t waste time later on. It only takes a few measly minutes.



Now that you have your file ready and saved as a .doc or a .docx, it’s time to import it in Jutoh.

For article blog formatting

This is what Jutoh looks like. Don’t let the overall design fool you. The ebooks look good once you’re finished. 😉

1. Import your file in Jutoh.

Capture d_écran 2017-08-10 à 19.17.27

When you click on the “Open” icon, you’ll be directed to the files on your computer. Select the correct file, and you’ll see it load.

2. Your file is now converted to work with Jutoh! Congrats. 🙂

Capture d_écran 2017-08-10 à 19.23.22

You can close this small window and get started.

3. The Table of Contents, a.k.a TOC has been automatically created!

Capture d_écran 2017-08-10 à 19.26.39

See? It’s like magic. 😀

When you prepare your file before you start with Jutoh as I showed you, it helps Jutoh recognize where each section is and it knows that it needs to be added to your TOC.

Before you ask, yes, this is what will be in your ebook once you’re finished. Isn’t it nice?

4. Delete the automatically added ugly cover.

Capture d_écran 2017-08-10 à 19.31.18

As you can see below your TOC, you have an automatically created cover for your ebook. It’s downright ugly and makes your eyes bleed.

You probably already know this, but when you upload your ebook to Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, etc, you need a file without the cover since it’s added by the platforms.

Unless you’re formatting an ARC and you want it to have the cover, you need an epub and .mobi file without the cover.

Let’s delete it.

Click on the ugly cover. It opens a new window.

Capture d_écran 2017-08-10 à 19.38.21

Click to delete the cover. It’ll then show a blank page.

  • Note that if you want to add your own cover for an ARC, you can quickly add it by clicking on “Create From Image File”. It’ll show the images on your computer. You just have to click on the one you want, and it’ll add it to Jutoh.

5. Set your Metadata.

As you can see in the picture above, there’s “Metadata” written above “Cover”. Click on it.

Capture d_écran 2017-08-10 à 19.51.01

This is what “Metadata” looks like.

I don’t fill out everything because it’s not that important, but since I format my ARCs too and I write under a pen name, I always change a few things.

“Book Title” always shows the name of your document. If you’re like me and have weird names for your file, you need to change it to the title of your book.

“Author” shows the name of the person that registered for Jutoh. If you write under a pen name, you might want to make sure it’s your author name that shows up and not your real name.

If you want to fill out more things, you can, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

6. Since we’re covering “easy formatting” today, there’s only one last step. Create your .mobi and ePub!

Capture d_écran 2017-08-10 à 20.29.53

To create your ebook (or .mobi), pick either ePub or .mobi and then click on “Compile”. Wait for a few seconds while it compiles all the information of your ebook.
Then, click on “Launch”.

And that’s it!

You have your ebook formatted, ready to be uploaded, and if it’s an ARC, ready to be sent to reviewers.

You have to admit that Jutoh is pretty easy to use. 😉


Do you find this tutorial helpful?

Is there an issue you need help with? Comment and I will do my best to help you.

Have you used my tutorial to format an ebook? If you have, drop the title(s) of your book(s)!

Next week, I’ll post a tutorial to format ebooks with what I call chapter headers like this.

It’s kind of cute, isn’t it? Not super fancy, but cute enough so it doesn’t look too shabby. 😉

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope I was able to help you! xx

New banner for 2017 SW stephanie Witter


One thought on “Easy ebook Formatting, A Tutorial For Resourceful Authors

  1. Pingback: “Fancy” ebook Formatting, A Tutorial For Resourceful Authors | Stephanie Witter's Hangout

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